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$5,205 of $10,000
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83 donations

This fundraiser ended on 09/06/11

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Be a heart hero for Josie! Donate online or send checks to the address below.

Heart Heroes for Josie Donation Trust Information:
Checks, cash, gifts, care packages, letters, etc. can be sent to:
HHFJ
5280 Annapolis Lane North
Apt. #3205
Plymouth, MN 55446

100% of funds sent directly to this address goes to Josie's medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Meet Josie Fort! She was born January 11th, 2010 at Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She spent four days in the NICU at Children's Minneapolis before going home.

Josie was born with a very rare congenital heart defect called double outlet right ventricle (DORV). Her pulmonary artery and aorta both rise from the right ventricle. Normally, the aorta rises from the left ventricle and is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood to the body. She would require surgery to fix the defect.

At six weeks old, Josie underwent her first open heart surgery to help her heart pump blood more efficiently. She spent a week in the hospital before going home.

In the months that followed, Josie was evaluated by cardiologists, surgeons, and pediatricians to determine when she was ready for her big repair surgery. In September of 2010, at 19 pounds, Josie was wheeled into an eight hour open heart surgery to repair the defect. While in recovery, Josie's heart wasn't keeping a steady rhythm. She went under the knife a week later to have a permenant pace maker put in her abdomen to help her heart pump.

Josie celebrated her first birthday in January 2011 with all her friends and family. She opened presents and dove into a chocolate cake.

In the weeks before and following her first birthday, Josie suffered from a sinus infection, bladder infection, and a virus called hand-foot-mouth. On January 28th, after three days of fussing and not sleeping, her mom took her to the ER and she was admitted right away.

Josie's heart was functioning at 15%, despite the pacemaker. She would need a third open heart surgery. The surgeons waited one week before operating to give Josie some time to get stronger. The surgery was intense and it was likely Josie would be on a life support machine and have her chest open afterwards. Josie surprised everyone when she was wheeled out of surgery with a closed chest and not on life support! She had a stronger pace maker in hopes it would improve her heart function.

As of March 8th, 2011, Josie's heart still has not improved. Her breathing is labored and she has a feeding tube. She's hospital bound and 100% dependent on IV medication. Josie is awaiting confirmation for a heart transplant following her evaluation.

Josie does not let her ailments define her. She's a happy little girl and loves to be around people. She is allowed to go on wagon rides around the ward, and stops to wave and smile at all the babies and nurses. She loves Dora the Explorer, having her picture taken, and reading books.

Josie has already had a grueling fight for survival, and has a truly inspirational story to anyone who hears it. The road ahead of her is long. Josie's mom, Brittanie, spends all her time at the hospital with her. Josie's dad, Jeff, is a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves. He's served two tours overseas and is scheduled for another in 2012. He just graduated from UMD and is interviewing the the Cities for a job as an athletic trainer.


EDIT 5/2/11: Josie's transfer to Amplatz at the U of M went smoothly. She was able to go home with IV medications, G-tube, and visits from a home care nurse. Unfortunately, Josie was admitted again right after Easter. She was transferred to the brand spankin' new Amplatz Children's Hospital and was in a Star Tribune article! Hopefully she'll be able to go home again, but for now her heart failure is making her very uncomfortable.
EDIT 5/28/11: Josie had surgery to have the Berlin heart installed and a new pace maker. She wasn't doing well after being extubated, and had to be re-intubated. She was intubated and sedated for over two weeks. Then a heart became available! Josie was prepped and and waiting when the donor heart arrived. The heart started beating on its own, like it knew right where it was supposed to be. Josie did great in the surgery, and is doing well resting.

You can be a Heart Hero for Josie! The money raised for Josie will go to medical expenses not covered by insurance.
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